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A look at Dolphins GM candidate Brian Xanders

People I've been talking to about Dolphins GM candidate Brian Xanders generally have positive things to say about him: He's experienced. He knows the ins and outs of the NFL rules for player acquisition, salary cap, and other personnel matters to the point he served as John Elway's tutor on the topic -- obviously they didn't cover faxing. And he apparently dabbles in the idea of using a sort of sabermetrics to speed information gathering on players, something Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is certain to appreciate because he enjoys being confused by such things.

[Update: Three NFL people and two others who apparently read this post either texted me or emailed me to say Xanders is not all that. The pushback was so overwhelming that I decided to add this update. Anyway, I was told other scouts don't think very highly of Xanders' ability to pick players. And as for his experience, they say he has none actually picking players. So there is that. I was also told Xanders fits Ross in that he's calm and very willing to play nice with others. A more balanced outlook.]

Xanders completed his interview with the Dolphins on Wednesday. He was the sixth candidate to interview. But immediately he stands out because he is the first candidate for Dolphins GM who has been an NFL GM before.

Xanders was the Denver Broncos GM from 2009-2012. He was the team's assistant GM in 2008.

It's unclear how much personnel say Xanders truly had in Denver. He didn't have final say under coach Josh McDaniels. And he certainly didn't have it after McDaniels was fired and the Broncos hired John Elway. But he was obviously a resource.

After Xanders was fired from the Broncos after the 2012, the Denver Post recapped his time with the team and what personnel decisions were made under his watch. Here it is:


Draft: Xanders’ first in Denver, was one to forget. The Broncos used their two first-round picks to select running back Knowshon Moreno and defensive end Robert Ayers, neither of whom have lived up to first-round billing. But it was the second round of that draft that was particularly poor. None of three players drafted in that round, cornerback Alphonso Smith, safety Darcel McBath or tight end Richard Quinn, was on the roster in 2012.

ree agency: The first free-agent class of the McDaniels-Xanders era was a big one, and included veterans such as safety Brian Dawkins, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, cornerback Andre Goodman, running back Correll Buckhalter and longsnapper Lonie Paxton.

Trades: Xanders helped orchestrate the blockbuster trade that sent quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago. The Broncos received two first-round picks, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton in exchange for a fifth-rounder and Cutler, who began feuding with McDaniels shortly after the new coach was hired.


Draft: The Broncos made a splash in the first round of the draft by making two trades down and two trades up and ultimately winding up with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas at No. 22 and quarterback Tim Tebow at No. 25. The Broncos also drafted starters Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton and Eric Decker in the second day of the draft.

Free agency: The Broncos’ big free agent signings were defensive tackles Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green, who both received big-money contracts. Green, who had $3.25 million guaranteed in his contract, did not make the 53-man roster. Bannan was released in a cost-saving move in 2011 before re-joining the team this year. Later, the Broncos signed defensive end Elvis Dumervil and guard Chris Kuper to contract extensions.

Trade: The Broncos traded troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami for two second-round draft picks. The other notable trade of the offseason came when Denver shipped fan-favorite running back Peyton Hillis to Cleveland in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn. Quinn never took a regular-season snap for the Broncos.


Draft: With the highest pick in team history, Denver drafted linebacker Von Miller at No.2, and he was an immediate star. The Broncos drafted three other players who started in 2011 — safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, and right tackle Orlando Franklin.

Free agency: The biggest names in the Broncos’ post-lockout free agent class were running back Willis McGahee, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2011 and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, and defensive tackle, who suffered a season-ending injury in training camp.

Trades: The Broncos traded for defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley in August, and he went on to start 13 games. The team was unable to re-sign Bunkley this spring. Denver also traded wide receiver Jabar Gaffney to Washington for defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, who did not make the team. In October, the Broncos traded unhappy wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis for a fifth-round draft pick.


Draft: Denver traded out of the first round of the draft before selecting defensive tackle Derek Wolfe at No. 36 and quarterback Brock Osweiler at No. 57 in the second round. Denver drafted seven total players.

Free agency: Other than the Peyton Manning signing, Denver otherwise has been relatively quiet in free agency. The team signed veteran free agent Mike Adams and re-signed linebackers Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard.

Trades: After Manning signed on as the team’s new starting quarterback, the Broncos traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks.

So clearly there were bombs. But there were highlights. The 2010-2011 drafts produced the most starts (155) and playing time (more than 12,000 snaps) of any NFL team.

Xanders is said to have unearthed cornerback Chris Harris, who was an undrafted free agent.

Xanders is currently Detroit's senior personnel executive under Martin Mayhew. Xanders was hired by the Lions in January 2013 and one of his responsibilities was to develop an internal scouting database to help the team better process information during the draft. 

So what does Xanders look for when he scouts?

"We're looking for guys with football instincts, which is wide vision, anticipation, savvy angles, quick recognition of what's going on," Xanders told Fox Sports Florida in 2012. "What instincts and speed lead to is production. If you have that and some athleticism and strength, you tie it all together and all you have to have is some competitive toughness. You get a productive player.

"And off the field, we grade a player in four different areas. Injury and durability, and that's just a function of how they made it through college. Number two is mental and learning. The third thing is personal character, the dependability, the leadership, the off-field issues or no issues, and then their family. The fourth is football character, which is effort, work ethic, passion for football. It all blends into this scouting process."


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Only thing little in here 2 watt is your self esteem and self awareness.

Nothing stands out with Xanders. Unless Elway was picking the players, why would we want this guy? They quoted him as saying what he looks for in a player, which is the standard response from others. I wish these guys would sometimes try to forget about combine stats, etc., and look for playmakers, on offense, or defense. Look for kids that love the game and make plays, regardless if they don't have the proto-typical stats for a position. Manziel comes to mind. Whatever team takes this kid will have a good QB. I'm happy with Tanne. I think Lazor is exactly what he needs, along with an improved O-Line and a big, fast running back who runs downhill EVERY play.

2 watt, really? That is supposed to irritate me??? haha, pick up your game, son.

Armando deserves the blog hits. Even with the parasites around, it's still the best Dolphins forum around...

His opinions pieces and news reporting lately do leave a little to be desired in my opinion... he's done better.

More likely Oscar is 2 watt and FIRE ROSS / Marco is Daytona.

No Mace is Daytona and Oscar is Aloco er..........

Man, when that priest last night started reciting the requirements needed to take Communion, I started to become convinced more and more, that I will not be able to take that Host, Forever.

Meant proto-typical size for a position.

Xanders sounds perfect for us.

devlin is a foles clone
expect him 2 start

hardcore, yeah, honestly I did like the draft he participated in Detroit last year more than any of those Denver drafts.

However, the one pick in Denver that I really liked was Eric Decker. That one I thought showed a lot of promise in regards to player evaluation. The rest - Ireland like.


Forget 2watt. On 2 occasions, I have specifically asked him if he is a Dolphins fan, or Jets fan and he has refused to answer. I know the answer.

2 Watt you fake a#@ piece of s#@t you've posted 9 times in less than an hour. I didn't post 9 times all day yesterday and won't break it today either. Have fun with your imaginary world in here today. lmao your life is so pathetic. hahahahaha

Only thing little in here 2 watt is your self esteem and self awareness.

Posted by: Phins78 | January 16, 2014 at 10:11 AM
wow 78
this must have killed u
2 write so little words

I forgot more 'bout the phinz
than u'll ever kno

This is the eqivalent of taking an oath on the bible to a troll. They can't make themselves say, because they are not Dolphins fans. Which begs the question: WTF are they doing on this blog? They're just losers who live in Mom's house.

78, u ran away
crying yday so that's y
u only posted 9 x's

Wait, wait, the reason Solomon and I are against Organized Religion is that we firmly believe anything created by Man is imperfect. We like Perfection.

Posted by: Which Troll is Which??? | January 16, 2014 at 10:12 AM

That's what I've been trying to tell people ya know? It just doesn't matter because they all act exactly alike. Makes you think it's the same person but what does it matter, JUST ASSUME THEY ARE ALL THE SAME PERSON. Because the behavior mirrors itself in each post. So as far as anyone should be concerned they are all YG/DAYTONA. They're too afraid to use the same name, they hide in fear every day in here, so lets just give em one name and be done with it? Awesome, solved, they are all YG/Daytona. Sounds good, mystery solved.


Where did you hear McAdoo only took the other job after hearing Lazor was coming here? I'd like to read that.

stupid clueless homers and
u kno who u r

No no, 2 watt, Devlin will be the backup QB, however if Tannehill falters. . .. . . ..

Is Tannehill getting death threats? Mark, better get your boy some protection. His wife is carrying around AR-15's in the back of rental cars.

tell the clueless putz 78
and the other dumb homers
that I've been posting as 2 watt
4 a decade


Are the police cross referencing open murder cases in Miami where an assault rifle was used to see if they can link her to the crime? No. She is white.

The Troll wrote a paragraph then turned angry against itself then wrote another and turned angry also at that one then he wrote.........

Can he trade away the Dolphins fake fan base.

It's sick to see a team with so muck tradition have empty seats at home every week.

The rifle lauren left in the car is not illegal in any way according to the lawmen in Florida who were contracted by the rental car agency.

Difference between the Tannehills and the hernandez' of the world I guess. Intellect.

I think I would rather pass on him myself,if he was was really a good GM he would still be the GM and the Broncos would just be average without manning and this is the truth. I would rather see a young an upcoming guy who hasn't had GM experience yet that someone like Xanders.

Don't get me wrong I would like Tom Gamble or Polian someone like that but it is not happen, so you might s well give it to the brightest young mind out there and let him be the next good GM, you never know what you might find.

All these guys had to start somewhere. And then there is this also if Dolphins tank which is under 500 next season Philbin is most likely gone and if you thought the run defense was bad this year what do you think it will look like next year without big Paul and Starks , we would probably give like ten yards a carry with our linebackers.

I thought they probably should have cleaned house all together but they didn't, so getting a top notch GM to work with DawnJoe ain't gonna Happen.


They are going over video now to see how many times Hernandez entered Lauren's hotel room when the Phins were in town for the final game of the 2012 season. (We got shut out that game, Tanne was preoccupied wondering why his wife was late to the game.)

Alright Mando how about telling them its time to crap or get off the pot on the GM decision.

There's work to be done. Grimes needs to be resigned and we will need DT's and an o-line. Chop Chop.

No one cares 2watt. Seriously, you live in a fantasy world, it's creepy. You're a very weird person and you never make sense. Your posts are useless garbage that add absolutely nothing to this blog. For those reasons I'm done talking to you and will pretend you're not here from this day forward. Enjoy this little fantasy world where you have made yourself king, I'm not interested in playing along.

Anyone else want to see the Lauren tannehill bikini shot with her holding the rifle? Put that on the cover of 2014 Dolphins calendar. That would sell like a muthatrucka

So in less than 30 minutes the Miami PD decided the rifle was not used in a crime?
They should promote those guys to homicide because the guys in homicide can't solve anything unless someone calls in with with an anonymous tip after 6 months of no activity.

Yes 2 watt, you've been here forever under your name.

But Phins also has a point that sometimes you're posts are incomprehensible. Of course, I've read you long enough to be able to deduce every post down to 1 basic statement: the Dolphins suck!

So my suggestion to Phins is to keep that in mind, 2 watt thinks the team sucks before the season, during the season and after the season.

2 watt, keep in mind Phins, Mark and others have just as much right to be optimistic as you do to be pessimistic. A blog democracy should be open enough to allow the expression of all viewpoints (other than direct personal attacks).

Fair to all?

No ETF, nothing was illegal about having it or having it in the back of a car in the manner it was concealed.

That would take less than 30 minutes to conclude, yes.

I only,
only attack when attacked

yeah mark
she's a pure genius
to leave that in a trunk

ETF, I dropped the soap in the shower today at the gym... came out unscathed. i would recommend Aaron get his hands on that soap on a rope and tie it tightly to his wrist....

He's going in a tight end, coming out a wide receiver.

any more genius than Aaron hernandez taking topless selfies on Instagram with illegal firearms in hand to show he's a Vato Loco?

If I were Ross I'd be looking for the 'self assured' variety for a GM. The word that Ross put out, begrudgingly, was that the new GM had TOTAL CONTROL OF THE ROSTER! Now if the new GM delivers then whatever Aponte and her friend have to say, in a negative sense, about the new GM will be looked upon with disfavor. If they want to create an internal feud then their putting their heads in a noose.

That being said I can't see Aponte doing something stupid in continuing to a line herself with Philbin. If the GM shows any talent at all she has to become a team player. She may already be a team player. Her relationship with Ireland was difficult because it's on record that Ireland wanted to fire Aponte. Very difficult to work day to day with someone that wants you out. Nearly impossible.

Going back to the GM, we won't have to wait 3 years to evaluate him. What he does to solve the near total lack of talent on the offensive line in the short term will tell us his worth. He has cap space and draft picks. If we see no improvement on that front then we're back to square one!

One last thing, I'm hoping that the league doesn't label the Martin/Incognito situation as an 'institutional failure'! If they do we may lose our compensation pick(s). If not, considering who we lost (Dansby, Burnett, Long and Martin/Incognito), we're looking at another 4th and possibly a 5th. Looking at the names on this list a 3rd wouldn't be out of the question. But if they pin the blame on the Dolphins all bets are off.

ETF is just being plain silly. My point is WHY does she feel the need to carry around an AR-15? Was she at the range? Is that what Florida has gotten to now, people feel the need to carry around assault rifles everywhere? I'm from VA, I understand conceal carry, but an AR-15? You really that on edge every time you step out of your house in Florida? I'm trying to understand the psyche.

tid bits
did x eat at joes last nite?
that usualy ends up as a contract dinner

Just give the job to Farmer already!

Couldn't find the pic I was talking about but here's more evidence of the boy genius...


DC, you forget THill is a good ole fashion Texas boy and we all know they love guns the bigger the better. I suppose THill and his wife went to the range. Really careless of her to leave the gun in the car. Guess it true what they say of blondes...

these morons think they can get away with everything
just look at a-roid
and Armstrong

Ray, you're right. If it was the range, then I can understand it. But the last person I want shooting long range outdoors is Ryan "can't-hit-Mike-Wallace-with-10-steps-on-the-defender-from-30-yards-away" Tannehill.

Had to get that in, felt good too!


Just saying

So millionaire hispanic professional athletes who are suspected of murder in multiple states are at risk of being raped in jail? By who?

I suspect that the only inmates that are even allowed to look at AH are the leaders of the latin gangs not the grunt gang members themselves.

ETF, I bow down to you, in all matters pertaining to the chain of command as it pertain to jail sex.

I'm ignorant in these matters as I've never been to jail or had sex with a male.

Great post DC.

Of course I would, because they're MIAMI DOLPHINS!

Have you forgot that I'm not white either .. thought that I put that out there more than once. My lineage has nothign to do with the Anglos or the Saxons. I actually have Latin descent myself ETF....

It's not clear how much say any of them had in drafting.Neither Farmer, Dawson, Licht, Gainey, Kahn or Xanders, but Xanders was actually a GM and the Broncos are very successful. that makes him my lead candidate.

Gamble and Lazor both at Philly together makes the GC search a bit more interesting. Gamble seemed to be a high caliber GC candidate. He turned Ross down.

I wonder if Ross made a more serious run at him now if it Lazor being here would matter any? I think Ross would need to position more cash and probably more power to lure him.

If not I'm rooting for Farmer.

ETF is just being plain silly. My point is WHY does she feel the need to carry around an AR-15? Was she at the range? Is that what Florida has gotten to now, people feel the need to carry around assault rifles everywhere?

Posted by: DC Dolfan | January 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I have a theory about this incident DC. None of it adds up, who in the hell would forget an AR-15 in a rental car? Please, you buy an AR-15 or pick one up you're bringing it with you until you get home to inspect, clean, and store the rifle.

Could this have been done on purpose? Nothing illegal was done, they knew they wouldn't get in trouble, but they knew it would be a national story.

Is Lauren being threatened? Are both Ryan and Lauren receiving threats in the mail or online and maybe did this as a way to scare some people off. It really would be a clever way to scare off some idiots and internet tough guys.

DC Dolfan | January 16, 2014 at 10:52 AM


HAHAHA. Literally LOL'ing

A LOT OF DUMB IDIOTS on this site who wouldn't realize the Chiefs Giants and others all use this form of structure of HC and GM reporting to owner

He turned Ross down.

I wonder if Ross made a more serious run at him now if it Lazor being here would matter any?

Posted by: JPAO | January 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM

JPAO not for nothing but I don't believe he just turned Ross down. I know you probably didn't mean it that way but I wanted to put it out there that he has turned everyone and anyone down that has been interested in talking to him because he said he wants to finish what he and Chip Kelly started.

It's been widely reported that McDaniels had final say & Tebow was his doing. I wouldn't get on Xanders for that.

His drafts have been much more productive than ours. People tend to forget, the Bronco's were a playoff team before Manning got there.

The team was assembled by whom? Xanders. Some of you are so easily influenced. You read Tebow was drafted during his tenure & automatically assume it was all his doing.

Silly & naïve.

I think the only teams looking for a GM is the Buc's and the Phins. I could be wrong though.

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